Whole crop regrowth


I made some arable silage using a pea/barley mix and under sown grass seed earlier in the year and the barley has grown back and is in ear.
My question is, is it safe to graze it off with sheep/lambs or cattle? I’m a bit concerned as a local farmer around here reckons he had a load of weaned lambs die grazing barley.

Kiwi Pete

Livestock Farmer
Hi, welcome along, yes it should be just fine.

I wouldn't wean lambs onto it as they'd likely gorge themselves on something they'd not eaten before, that's a recipe for disaster no matter what feed it is!
But that's no reason at all it can't or shouldn't be grazed, just you should "introduce it" rather than turn them out and hope.
A couple of days worth, preferably with an open gate back to a grass field, this gives the rumen flora time to adapt to the new feed; ruminants are a whole community living within a large host, and it does pay to be mindful of this when introducing something new.


That was my plan and I’m glad to hear your advice. Weaned a few weeks now so I’ll give them a go.
Thank you, much appreciated

Kiwi Pete

Livestock Farmer
It likely could be quite high in nitrates, especially leafy volunteers, which depends to an extent how much residual N is in the soil, and other factors such as frost.

Definitely don't shift their wire or give them a new paddock, immediately after a frost or let them get too hungry before shifting them - the key to great youngstock performance is to keep that furnace full, all the goodness is in the top half of the plant.
Use a second group of stock (ewes, big old cows etc) to clean up, rather than screwing the lambs to eat it all.

I am a bit different :rolleyes:;) but I tend to use a refractometer quite a bit esp during spring and autumn - it's easy to check nitrate levels this way, and avoid carnage.
I would have put my stock at risk several times otherwise.. simply by doing what I thought was right, best 50 dollars I have ever spent TBH.
Even though we rely totally on legumes for our N, these times of year it pays to shift when the sun has been on the plants for a few hours.

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